Fast-growing lakeside city Santa Rosa, south of the Philippine capital Manila, is BreatheLife’s newest member, and the second Southeast Asian city to join the campaign.
Having transformed in the last 50 years from a largely agricultural municipality to a city of 300,000 whose economic activity centres on the industry and service sectors, Santa Rosa’s air pollution reduction efforts are focused on transport, waste management and energy supply.
The city states that its land use planning process is “guided by the policies of enhanced accessibility, ecological sustainability and social responsibility”.
Its efforts include improving the state and connectivity of pedestrian and bicycle lanes, enforcing national and local waste management regulations and as well as encouraging waste reduction, diversion and segregation, and promoting the use of renewable energy.
The city uses solar power for streetlights and encourages private developers and households to adopt renewable energy.
It is advocating for the use of electric vehicles, initially in the government fleet, in order to reduce fuel expenses, with the co-benefit of reduced traffic-related emissions.
It’s also planning to develop a master plan for bicycle lanes to promote the use of non-motorized and non-fuel intensive transport.
These efforts feed into Santa Rosa’s involvement in several international initiatives for air quality and climate change action in the last decade, working on air quality-related projects with organizations including ICLEI, Clean Air Asia, USAID and GIZ.
It is a Building Energy Efficiency Accelerator City, a project coordinated by ICLEI South Asia, which involves the adoption of a mandatory green building code to reduce energy consumption of new and existing buildings and promote the use of renewable energy.
As part of the Asian Cities Climate Resilience Network, Santa Rosa developed a Local Climate Change Action Plan for 2016-2025, which charts a strategic line of actions to reduce greenhouse gases from its baseline in 2010. The City Council adopted it through a resolution and integrated it into the city’s 10-year Development Plan.
Santa Rosa is a signatory to the Compact of Mayors under the Global Covenant of Mayors. As part of its commitments to this, the city intends to cut its GHG emissions by 20 per cent on this 2010 baseline by 2020, a goal reiterated in its report to the Carbonn Climate Registry.
Currently, the city does not have air quality targets as routine monitoring shows compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Guidelines, but it is in the midst of conducting a comprehensive emissions inventory.
“Targets can be set upon completion of the emissions inventory and during the development of our city’s Clean Air Action Plan, for which resources have already been allocated,” said Santa Rosa Mayor, Danilo Fernandez.
Meanwhile, Santa Rosa is a pilot city in Cities for Clean Air Certification, a voluntary standard developed by Clean Air Asia that includes six actions cities can take to address air quality, including engaging people to take action, consolidating and communicating data and taking direct action on air pollution.